An “Unforgiving System” for refugees says Vicar but “Spirit of generosity” from local communities.
From Religious groups to Rugby Clubs, the parishes of Llandaff have built a new life for a Syrian refugee family but making this possible has meant crossing various barriers.
The ex Area Dean of Llandaff has spoken of the difficulties of resettling in Cardiff for refugee families and the help given by local parishes and residents.
The parishes of the Deanery of Llandaff are engaged in the 1Family Cardiff Project , with the help of the NGO Citizens UK, to help a Syrian family to make Cardiff their new home by renting a property, setting up bank accounts and giving all round support.
previous area Dean of Llandaff and group coordinator, Father Michael John talked. About the difficulties in setting up a new life in the UK, “it blows you away really some of the things that you learn about the challenges facing people in that kind of situations” he said. “it’s huge anyway, but to be doing that in a language that’s not your own. That’s something else.”
Father Michael Michael John noted the difficulties that refugee families face in settling in in Cardiff and the UK in general. The vicar utilised a team of volunteers from various areas of work and communities in Cardiff to help the family navigate their way to a better life.
“People arrive in this country. And then, in a sense, the hard work starts, for them in terms of just forging a new life. And yes, they’ve left horrors behind. But there are times where I think life looks pretty unfriendly, not people, but the systems appear pretty unsympathetic.” Said Father John
Father John noted the picture of two-year-old Alan Kurdi, the face down Syrian boy washed up on the beach as a moving moment that led people around the world to start doing something to help those fleeing war.
With the help of Citizens UK, a group that brings community organisation into contact with each other, residents, pubs, sports teams and religious groups as well as previously settled Syrian refugee families have helped by raising money, setting up bank accounts, doing DIY or simply playing football to help settle the family that arrived in Cardiff in February.
Father John said “you feel instinctively that you want to share whatever is good is not this is not about competition, you know. And so there’s a real spirit of generosity amongst all the groups that have settled families”